This paper presents the results of the support capacity estimation for the diversion tunnel of the Urus dam site in highly weathered tuff and weak zone. Tunneling in weak rock requires some special considerations, since misjudgment in support design results in costly failures. There are several ways of estimating rock support pressure and selecting support. However, all systems suffer from their characteristic limitations in achieving objectives. Thus, it is more useful to use different methods for estimating support pressure and type of support. The support pressure pi was established by three different methods. These methods are the (1) empirical methods based on rock mass rating (RMR) and rock mass quality index (Q-classification systems), (2) ground support interaction analysis (GSIA) and (3) numerical methods, namely, Phase 2 finite element (FEM) program. Rock masses were characterized in terms of RSR, RMR, Q-system and GSI. Drill-core samples were tested in the rock mechanics laboratory to determine physico-mechanical properties. Rock mass strength was estimated by empirical methods. Finally, the required support system is proposed and evaluated by different methods in the highly weathered tuff and weak zone of the diversion tunnel. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.